Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday Night is... Bill Evans talking and playing

1966. The essential in the detail... (I note the detail of his missing teeth)

And putting into practice...

When I glimpse from the train a clutch
of allotments, a tight row of cabbages or spuds
or garden peas, I think there are gods
beyond gods who live in the bones
of men and women, shivering at their touch;
that when rain falls it weeps hailstones;

that when Bill Evans lays his fingers down
on the keys it is death he is playing
in his own and the world’s ear,
in the time allotted, in the proper undertone of fear,
in each cloud that arrives with its gown
of rain, in the moment that bears no delaying...

...What we learn once - that life being ordinary
is the extraordinary thing – sticks with us
like clods of soil trapped in the treads of our shoes.
It is the plastic bags and shopping baskets we carry
to and fro, those bags of manure, compost and refuse,
the well-worn crust of the mysterious

that wastes itself and comes round again. I think
of Bill Evans’s head bent right down, staring,
it seems, at his feet not the keys. The soft, lost
spaces between head and foot, the loss-bearing,
the unsharing shared, the forgetting of cost
as space opens up just where we stand, on the brink

of music or earth, the universe of barren rock
where everything bears fruit and nothing does,
where the tune moves deeper, an inflorescence
in unresolved chords, with long lines of dock
and nettle and the faint occasional buzz
of the fly hanging on the air, its brief dark presence

zipping off somewhere by itself, into itself...

(from 'Allotments' for Michael Murphy)


Danial Neil said...

Thanks for sharing. I suppose to me music is our souls answer to our longing to know... something like that..

George S said...

I think Evans has that longing to know in his bones, Danial.

laurie said...

Village Vanguard

New York / September 1979

Bill emerges from the Men’s room at the back of the Vanguard, follows the red line taped to the floor of the hallway, past the staff lockers and the entrance to the kitchen. He slides past the crowd in the darkened room up onto the stage and seats himself at the piano.

Marc and Joe are waiting for him to begin the intro. The crowd reflects his serious demeanor by lowering their own heads ~ waiting for the transmission to begin.

He begins the opening chords to “I Do It for Your Love”, each chord suspended in the dense hush of the Vanguard. We are united in this state of emotional reverence. Bill proceeds to invite us ~ to make a place for us to stand beside him. For him there is no stage ~ no division. He is calling out for all of us to hear the great beauty inside.

He assumes his position, face draped gently over his hands on the keys. He tilts his head to one side ~ listening ~ and I see his face, the sallow skin stretched over the broad forehead, eyebrows raised in astonished agony or ecstasy, his eyes closed behind dark glasses, mouth and jaw open.

This is the expression he has at home composing at the piano. This is the expression he shares with me when we make love. This is his most intimate expression ~ egoless, vulnerable ~ full of truth and beauty.

Smoke curls up from ashtrays, filling the darkened red and black room with an eerie blue haze. No one speaks, everyone is in accord. We are all in accord with the intangible feeling of inner beauty decompressing from the depths of our neglected souls ~ surfacing.

We are remembering who we really are. Remembering our place in the perfection of everything. The place beyond words and feelings.

Bill ends the tune with an energetic run into the upper register. Absolute silence awakens the crowd and they respond with applause. He never speaks to the audience between tunes. He waits for the applause to subside and begins again his invitation to a dream with a few suspended notes.

Copyright 2010 by the author Laurie Verchomin

George S said...

Thank you very much for that, Laurie. I know how important that is. I will look out for your book in September.